The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #137861   Message #3154745
Posted By: Ross Campbell
15-May-11 - 08:25 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Bold Princess Royal (Song)
Subject: Lyr Add: The Bold Princess Royal (John Copper)
The Bold Princess Royal                 (John Copper, 1817-98)

On the fourteenth of February we sailed from the land
In the bold Princess Royal bound for Newfoundland.
We had forty bright seamen, our ship's company,
So boldly from the east'ard to the west'ard bore we

We had not been sailing scarce days two or three
When a man from our topmast a sail he did see;
Come bearing down on us to see where we bore
And under her mizen black colours she wore

'Great God,' cried our captain, 'what shall we do now?
Here comes a bold pirate to rob us I know.'
'Oh no,' cried our chief mate, 'that shall not be so.
We will shake out our reef, my boys and away from him we'll go.'

It was the next morning at the dawning of day,
This lofty, large pirate shot under our lee
'Whence came you?' cried the pirate. We answered him so:
'We are out of fair London, bound for Callao.'

Then back your main topsails and heave your ship to,
I have a letter to send down to you.'
If I back my main topsails and heave my ship to,
It will be for some pilot, not alongside of you.'

He chased us to the east'ard all that livelong day,
He chased us to the west'ard but he couldn't make no way.
He fired shots after us but none did prevail,
And the bold Princess Royal soon showed him her tail

'Oh now,' cried our captain, 'that pirate is gone,
Go down for your grog, my boys, go down every one.
Go down for your grog, my boys, and be of good cheer,
For while we've got sea room, bold lads, never fear.'

From Roy Palmer's "Boxing the Compass" (formerly "The Oxford Book of Sea Songs"). According to his notes "This set comes from the shepherd John Copper (1817-98) of Rottingdean, Sussex, via his family tradition."

Possibly the source for Louis Killen's version above?